Diet is especially important for Lymies, but what should you be eating? Do certain foods have properties that might help ease symptoms? What foods should you avoid? How can you tell you might have an allergy, other than the obvious signs? Trust me, I am not the police at this as every day is a battle for me, whether it is cravings, or eating my feelings, but I just pick up again and keep trying to do my best!
When I first began treatment for Lyme nearly a year ago, foods that generally never bothered me bothered me… A LOT. I was pretty much gluten free for a few years prior, but all of a sudden I could no longer eat gluten at all… my neck swelled so much when I had as much as a piece of macaroni, I couldn’t eat potatoes, corn products, sugar or meat either. I have incorporated some of these foods back in my diet as they no longer bother me like they did, with the exception of gluten, but in smaller amounts. Corn is generally a genetically modified food but do enjoy a few tortilla chips, potato chips are my weakness, I need a little sugar but it I have actually always had sugar allergies to a certain degree. I eat chicken but very rarely eat pork or red meat, mostly because of tummy issues and they are harder to digest foods. Hope you weren’t eating reading that!
What is a way you can tell you might have a food allergy? There are a few. The easiest at home way to tell if you may have a food allergy or sensitivity is to know your reactions after eating certain foods. Fatigue is the easiest way. You should not feel tired after eating a meal, with exception of if you ate too big a meal or your adrenals are exhausted and you are having a hard time metabolizing food. Sometimes there is a delayed onset and your inflammatory immune response will kick in several days after eating the food that gave you issues.
Once this happens, a smart way to know if you are sensitive to something is to avoid consuming that particular food for a few weeks, or even a month or two and see how you feel. That is exactly what I did with gluten for a few weeks a few years before my Lyme diagnosis. I didn’t accept my fibromyalgia diagnosis, so took action myself. For the first week, I felt like I was absolutely starving, but I didn’t give in. After the first week, I started to feel more energy than I had in years. Which is why I made the decision that I had a gluten sensitivity and that is why I cut down drastically… until of course my diagnosis and treatment.
There is also an at home test called the Coca pulse test. What you do to see if you might have a food allergy is to check your pulse rate at rest five minutes before eating a meal. Check your pulse again 15 minutes after eating a meal, but remember to rest after eating so your pulse isn’t elevated by activity. If your pulse rate is at least 15 minutes beats per minute faster after your meal, you likely ate something you are allergic to. Less than 10 beats per minute faster, unlikely you ate anything you are allergic to. What an easy test!
One other test I would like to mention is called the Alcat test. It will test for food allergies and intolerances. You can read more about it on alcat.com.
Well, as I have shared in previous posts and if you have Lyme, you probably already know that gluten and sugar are two big no-no’s that should not be consumed if you have Lyme disease. Two reasons being yeast overgrowth and inflammation. I will also explain another reason why sugar is a food to avoid.
Gluten contains a protein that causes inflammation. Gluten causes a gut and intestinal imbalance which causes yeast overgrowth. Gluten products are wheat, barley and rye. There are many types of gluten free products to try such as oats, buckwheat, wild rice, black or brown rice (white is modified), or millet. A lot of products such as flour can be replaced with different beans and nuts. I am a sucker for crackers. There are a lot of crackers out there that are made of almonds and rice and are delicious! and See? There ARE options! I make a mean gluten free oatmeal peanut butter cookie (yes it has a bit of sugar but not a crazy amount) yum yum!
Sugar is believed to feed the spirochetes (Lyme bacteria). Yikes! So.. when you are drinking that can of mountain dew, you are feeding those little bastards. Who wants that?! Sugar also suppresses the immune system. Also, can be responsible for inflammation and yeast overgrowth. Yeast also likes sugar. If you are having a sugar craving, it is better to have a small piece of dark chocolate instead of a regular candy bar. Or an entire pie. Not that I have never done that before! 😉
Other foods to avoid include: dairy, soy, genetically modified foods, foods with preservatives, and beverages to avoid are alcohol and caffeine. You are probably already thinking to yourself, wow this sucks. And you know what? Some of it really does. I will explain exactly why these are bad food choices what some good subtititutions are.
Dairy is can be a bad choice because a lot of people have an allergy to what is used to pasteurize it, and they don’t even know it. The United States takes out vital enzymes in milk during this process that makes it much more difficult to digest them. Also, the milk is generally produced from cows that have been exposed to GMOs which I will explain later. Another U.S. fact is that we are the highest consumers of milk in the entire world, yet we have the highest rate of osteoporosis. The “good” like calcium is taken out of the milk.
Another reason for avoiding dairy is that it generally makes antibiotics less effective. Some think if they are having tummy issues having a glass of milk will help. If you are doing your darndest to get well and are taking antibiotics, why would you want to hinder it. If you are having stomach issues, probiotics and glutamine are good choices.
Most people tend to tolerate goat milk a lot better. A great substitution to try is almond milk. Not the kind that has all that flavoring either, which adds a ton of sugar. When I first tried almond milk, it kind of reminded me of dusty milk. To me, it took awhile and was an acquired taste. But I began to like it and have replaced my nightly cup of milk with a glass of almond milk. Lower calories and fat content too! If you must have dairy, a better choice is greek yogurt, the plain kind. I use a little bit of honey and cinnamon and spice it up.
Soy is generally genetically modified. I can’t say ALL soy is bad… you just need to get the right kind. A lot of people think they are doing themselves a good service by skipping out on the dairy and switching to soy. Just be cautious about what type of soy you have.
Now that opens up the question… what is a genetically modified food? Genetically modified foods are foods that are produced from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These foods have been modified in order to make them grow better, resist disease, tastier, more appealing or give them a longer shelf life. Some main foods that have been genetically modified are soy, corn, cottonseed, fruits and veggies,sugar and grains. Another issue is products such as meat and dairy as they are usually fed GMOs and also many meats are injected with a growth hormone to make them grow faster. These animals, cows in particular, when fed GMOs, specifically corn based diets, have had a lot of liver issues and have been treated with antibiotics. Want to eat that? I think we have enough already. I dunno, maybe if I still ate a lot of meat it would put me in remission having them pumped with antibiotics and all 😉 Another GMO to avoid is food coloring. The main issue with these foods in a Lyme treatment aspect is they cause inflammation and digestive issues.
I think one of the biggest issues here is aspartame. Ever heard of aspartame? It is in over 6,000 products in the U.S. It’s your artificial sweeteners. Aspartame is found in your “diet” products, like diet soda for example. Aspartame has MANY ways that it is detrimental to your health. If you must, drink the regular soda and not the diet one. Yes it has the calories, but it is horrible for you. Evidence has proven that aspartame also slows your metabolism, making it HARDER for you to lose weight. Here is an interesting article that was shared in one of my Lyme groups. http://www.undergroundhealth.com/patent-confirms-that-aspartame-is-the-excrement-of-gmo-bacteria/ You are essentially eating/drinking e-coli poo. Calorie free poo. It also contains many more harmful components but maybe the poo factor will change your mind.
Many people have an allergy to GMO products and they can be harmful to your health… just another reason to go organic. I know it is more expensive, but what is the price of your health?
Preservatives are additives that keep your food fresh and are in a ton of foods. Most are easy to recognize because you just know they are bad for you. Food items that are in packages on the shelf that are good for several years contain preservatives. Twinkies, Little Debbies (cosmic brownies MMMmMMmm), a lot of lunch meats, all contain preservatives. They contain BHT and BHA, butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene, and are known to cause cancer and people generally have a hard time metabolizing them (your shelf foods). They also contain sulfites (generally found in cheap wine), and sodium nitrate (found in meats and cured fish). Some preservatives, however, are not bad for you, as they are made from vitamin C and generally found in your canned veggies.
It is probably easier for some than others to avoid alcohol. Honestly, the first time I was on antibiotics for 8 months straight the last thing on my mind was having a drink. I was focusing on not croaking and getting better. If you are really feeling sick, who the hell wants to drink anyways? Alcohol should be avoided with reasoning that it causes stress to adrenal glands and inflammation. A lot of alcohol also contains gluten, or if you are using a mixer it is probably a soda. A little obvious to say, but alcohol and antibiotics don’t mix.
Caffeine? I know, I know. You are probably giving the computer screen the finger at me right about now. I have NOT given this one up, but I have been more cautious about what I am putting into my cup in the morning. I am pretty sure if I couldn’t have my morning cup of coffee my Lyme rage would take over and the world would have hell to pay. Like I said, I am not an angel. The reasoning that coffee isn’t a wise choice is the same as alcohol, stress to adrenal glands and inflammation. Coffee also raises cortisol and serotonin levels in the body. A good substitute is green tea, which is also a good antioxidant.
Myself personally, have always had a reaction to red and yellow dye as well as sugar and preservatives. When I was a kid, my parents couldn’t figure out why I had severe rages and temper tantrums and changed my diet to all natural foods, and cut the sugars and dyes. They also cut peanut butter (my brother had issues with it if I believe correctly). It was amazing to my parents that my rages completely stopped. I’m not a parent and am trying not to pitch parenting advice, but if your kid is having ADHD issues or rage issues… try changing their diet. It might work. Nowadays doctors just want to medicate kids, and if it is something as easy as changing your kid’s diet, it is worth a shot! Worst that is going to happen is your kid is going to be eating healthier food but still has the same issues. Point being, food and drink is very important to EVERYONE! Not just a Lyme diet.
Ok… so enough with the bad! Good foods that generally everyone can tolerate are: organic meat products of all kinds, fish with lower levels of mercury, non-GMO veggies (note that potatoes, eggplant, and tomatoes can cause inflammation to some), fruits in moderation (natural sugar=yeast), nuts and seeds, non gluten grains, legumes, and cook with healthy oils such as olive oil.
Good foods and spices to ease symptoms: ginger, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, lemon, curry, walnuts, tea (preferably white or green), legumes, fish, and vegetables. I have been a fiend for fresh from the garden zucchini, or some broccoli, with a little bit of olive oil and garlic, pop in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Add a side of rice and grilled sockeye salmon and you have yourself a delicious dinner!
A book to read (I have not personally read) is called “The Lyme Diet”, written by Nicola McFadzean, N.D. if you want some more helpful info.
For those of you Lymie’s, that might have had a hard time reading all of this, I make the suggestion of breaking this up on Microsoft work a bit more, I try to do my best to keep paragraphs and thoughts short, as I have a hard time reading them myself. I also put the main focuses in bold to try to help out 😉
Hope this helped! Have a beautiful day everyone 🙂 🙂 🙂
Tiredoflyme.com, Beyond Lyme Disease – Connie Strasheim, http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2012/07/24/what-is-gluten-anyway, celiac.com, gluten-free.org, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002432.htm, wikipedia.com, knowledgeoftoday.com, askmen.com , geekatheart.us